It’s another eerily beautiful day here in the Great North Woods. Yesterday’s blog post—on my personal responsibility to leave others alone when it comes to their personal responsibility (or, more succinctly, the standing for the national anthem issue)—generated a lot of traffic to tinywhitebox.com (good) and a few fairly negative comments to my email (not so good—but better by far than “you suck” appended as a comment). Please write me at email@example.com, rather than sending live rattlesnakes to PO Box 446, Pittsburg, NH 03592. Thanks.
While I’d much rather stir up controversy with religion or sex than politics (the taboo triumvirate according to my mother); still, I’ve never really determined my overall political standing. I mean, as I shared yesterday I’ve voted for candidates from both major parties for every office, although more often Democrats than Republicans. On foreign policy, I think a reliance on the military leads to interventions I’m against, but a reliance on diplomacy with no military to back it up leads to weakness. On domestic issues, I don’t much care what people do in their bedrooms or whether they smoke pot—fairly libertarian views, I think government programs are by and large inefficient and wasteful—fairly conservative, but I think investing in individuals—through the GI Bill and increased higher education aid, for instance, is wise—liberal ideas. I see myself as a moderate, although my liberal friends see me as conservative and my conservative friends view me liberal. Strange.
To try to get some clarity, I lugged my laptop to an internet connection and took a political typology quiz presented by Pew Research, an independent and neutral organization, I believe. (I fear “independent and neutral” will be read by conservative friends as “liberal” and vice-versa, but what’re you gonna do?) Because of the word “typology” instead of “type,” I could tell I was dealing with serious folks. This quiz (http://www.people-press.org/quiz/political-typology/) consisted of 23 questions asking me to identify which statement I identify with MOST. This forced-choice format led to some difficult decisions. For example:
“I don’t care how many people starve to death or lose their jobs, protecting the environment is our nation’s highest priority”
“Battery acid in baby’s bath? Big deal! Jobs, jobs, jobs are all that matter.”
Perhaps I exaggerate. But not by much.
At the end of a grueling four minutes, I’d completed the quiz. Pressing “Finished,” I was immediately given my diagnosis: I am among the most conservative members of what Pew calls Next Generation Left. Given that I’m pushing 60, I’m far past the next generation anything, and my placement on Pew’s ideological scale is solidly moderate. Still, I could accept that label. Until I read the descriptive text:
“Generally young, well-educated and financially comfortable, the Next Generation Left have very liberal attitudes on many issues, including homosexuality, abortion, the environment and foreign policy. While overall supportive of an activist government, most are wary of expanding the social safety net. Most also have relatively positive views of Wall Street’s impact on the economy. While most affiliate with the Democratic Party or lean Democratic, few consider themselves strong Democrats.”
The parts of this that are accurate are not important and the parts that are important are not accurate. As I’ve mentioned a bunch of times, I have three daughters in their 20s; each of them has gone through longer or shorter stretches of their lives believing that when I was born indicates or determines who I am. With a birthday of November 17, this is the kind of nonsense I’ve heard over the years:
“Multi-faceted and complex, the Scorpio man is an emotionally charged individual who can be as intimidating as he is passionate. Intensely loyal to friends and family, his unlimited fervor makes for a wildly exciting partner. Like his Zodiac sign, the Scorpion, he can be an ominous force to be reckoned with when angered.”
Now I’m intensely loyal to Wall Street’s impact on the economy and has unlimited fervor for homosexuality.
I think I’ll go back to be a moderate who leans Democrat but votes for Republicans when they’re the better candidate.